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The President of the Republic continued his visit to the County of Rapla

President Arnold and Mrs Ingrid Rüütel on the second day of their tour of the County of Rapla familiarized themselves with business activities and tourist industry in the Via Baltica development corridor. First, they visited the ruined ancient stronghold of Varbola. From there they proceeded to the furniture factory Balteco Mööbel where the President was acquainted with manufacturing based on a new technology. The enterprise has doubled its sales and workforce just within three years, whereas the needed new workers have been recruited in the neighbourhood and trained by Balteco Mööbel themselves.

At Märjamaa, the Head of State discussed with leaders of the county's local governments whether there is a need for an administrative reform and what are its objectives. The interlocutors were in accord that the reform must not be forced upon hastily, moreover, it is of paramount importance that service to the people be not impaired. The President emphasized that any decision about the unification of municipalities is to be made by those involved themselves who, then, will bear the responsibility for the outcome too. Last year, the County of Rapla experienced the birth of three united municipalities – Rapla, Märjamaa, and Kohila. The leaders of the above municipalities noted that this process can only be successful if the state adopts an unambiguous stance, gives support, and creates favourable conditions including expedient legislation.

Thereafter, the President visited the hamlet of Tiduvere in the rural municipality of Vigala, where the local residents wish to launch a development project based on renewable energy resources. As stressed by its initiators, this is not only an issue of alternative energy but also a vital issue in view of regional policy. The Head of State added that it is important to our way of life and national security as well that an area as crucial in strategic terms as energy were deconcentrated and thus, made less vulnerable.

Students of the Vana-Vigala School of Technology and Services served the Presidential couple with a self-cooked lunch. Thereafter, the guests were acquainted with the school and an American-Estonian paramilitary training project named "Uus võimalus" (A New Chance) targeted at enabling male drop-outs of basic schools to continue their education. The President said that it is most important that the project be launched and, if necessary, made permanent in order to give at least a part of the drop-outs a chance to complete their studies and take up a job.

Mrs Ingrid Rüütel met with members of the village societies of Varbola and Russalu, and called at the community centre of Märjamaa and the home farmstead of Aino Reemann in the rural municipality of Vigala.

In the afternoon, the President and Mrs Rüütel visited Sillaotsa Farm Museum where they talked with representatives of the county's tourist industry and museums about the mission and activities of small museums in the County of Rapla. The Presidential couple baked rye bread and made a sleigh-ride.

At the end of the day, the President at Kaiu was given an overview of the local enterprises and, thereafter, called at a shooting range of the Defence League. The tour of the County of Rapla ended at the Training Centre of the Defence League at the Manor of Alu, where the President took part in the evaluation of a civil-military operations exercise of county governors just carried out there.

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, January 16, 2003

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